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Topic: I got ripped off

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  1. #1

    Unhappy I got ripped off

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    I am almost embarrassed posting this, but I do need a piece of advice. I know most of you guys are not in the jingles business. I hope you could point me to some sources of information on music business anyway. Please, bear with me. I'll try to make it short.

    Some time ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a guy who does voiceovers in Spanish for commercials on radio and TV. He asked me to write some jingles, mainly for local companies he was doing business with. A couple of my jingles were sold and played on a hispanic radio in Chicago. I got paid on time and everybody was happy. We never set up a contract or anything because our agreement was based on trust.

    The last jingle I produced for him was aired in November. Since then, I've been trying to get paid with no success. At first, he gave me different excuses for the delay, but now he doesn't even return my calls. I feel both depressed and stupid because I have no contract to enforce. I just learned the lesson the hard way.

    I don't know what to do about it or where to get help from. I am not a full-time musician. I need to get familiar with the legal stuff so in the future this does not happen to me again. I would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks,

  2. #2

    Re: I got ripped off

    I'm no expert, but I see three paths:

    1) If the payment was to be for less than $2k, take him to small claims court. The details vary state by state, but the costs are very low, and there is typically a low award ceiling. The bad news is that payment is not enforced by the court, so he may not pay you anyway. The good news is that you won't lose much sleep.

    2) If the jingle is being played over and over for a deep-pockets corporation, you can hire an expensive lawyer. It shouldn't cost much up front, but the lawyer will take a high percentage if you win. It's unlikely that you jingle is worth millions though.

    3) The middle route. Skip it. You'd have to pay the lawyer up front. You'd lose sleep. You'll probably lose. You will end up with less money and more resentment than you have today.

    4) Hire a big guy to beat him up. Don't do it. You would be compromising your principals and you could go to jail.

    Even with a contract you could end up in a situation where somebody doesn't pay. It just means that you will have better odds if you have to go to court. And those odds mean that the guy will more likley settle.

    Best of luck!

    -JF

  3. #3

    Re: I got ripped off

    Quote Originally Posted by jvidal2003
    I am almost embarrassed posting this, but I do need a piece of advice. I know most of you guys are not in the jingles business. I hope you could point me to some sources of information on music business anyway. Please, bear with me. I'll try to make it short.

    Some time ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a guy who does voiceovers in Spanish for commercials on radio and TV. He asked me to write some jingles, mainly for local companies he was doing business with. A couple of my jingles were sold and played on a hispanic radio in Chicago. I got paid on time and everybody was happy. We never set up a contract or anything because our agreement was based on trust.

    The last jingle I produced for him was aired in November. Since then, I've been trying to get paid with no success. At first, he gave me different excuses for the delay, but now he doesn't even return my calls. I feel both depressed and stupid because I have no contract to enforce. I just learned the lesson the hard way.

    I don't know what to do about it or where to get help from. I am not a full-time musician. I need to get familiar with the legal stuff so in the future this does not happen to me again. I would appreciate any advice.

    Thanks,
    I'm not a lawyer, but it sounds to me like you have a verbal contract with this guy and you have prior transactions to prove it. Threaten to file a lawsuit against him. If he doesn't cough up the dough, then DO it. It doesn't cost much and you can get damages, court costs, etc.
    --
    Robert Gregory Browne
    KISS HER GOODBYE (now available)
    KILLER YEAR: Stories to Die For (Jan. 2008)
    WHISPER IN THE DARK (2008)
    St. Martin's Press
    http://www.robertgregorybrowne.com

  4. #4

    Re: I got ripped off

    Quote Originally Posted by robgb
    I'm not a lawyer, but it sounds to me like you have a verbal contract with this guy and you have prior transactions to prove it. Threaten to file a lawsuit against him. If he doesn't cough up the dough, then DO it. It doesn't cost much and you can get damages, court costs, etc.
    Yupp. Sue him . He is counting on you not doing that and you will probally win.

    ed

  5. #5

    Re: I got ripped off

    Thank you guys for the advice. I have a friend who works for a lawyer. I'll contact him soon.

    Thanks

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